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A Tohei, G Watanabe, and K Taya

The relationship between hypothyroidism and disturbance of the hypothalamo-hypophysial-adrenal axis was investigated using adult male rats. Hypothyroidism was produced by administration of 4-methyl-2-thiouracil (thiouracil) in the drinking water for 2 weeks. Hypothyroidism decreased adrenal weights to 57% of controls and plasma concentrations of corticosterone to 48% of controls. The changes in the weight of adrenals recovered to control levels by administration of thyroxine. The pituitary responsiveness to corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) for ACTH release markedly increased in hypothyroid rats as compared with euthyroid rats. In vivo release of CRH and AVP in median eminence significantly increased in hypothyroid rats as compared with euthyroid rats. There were no significant differences in hypothalamic concentrations of CRH and AVP. These results indicate that hypothyroidism causes adrenal dysfunction directly and results in hypersecretion of ACTH mediated by increases in synthesis of CRH and AVP in the hypothalamus.

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A Tohei, M Akai, T Tomabechi, M Mamada, and K Taya

Abstract

The functional relationship between thyroid, adrenal and gonadal hormones was investigated using adult male rats. Hypothyroidism was produced by the administration of 4-methyl-2-thiouracil (thiouracil) in the drinking water for 2 weeks. Plasma concentrations of TSH dramatically increased, whereas plasma concentrations of tri-iodothyronine and thyroxine decreased in thiouracil-treated rats as compared with euthyroid rats. Hypothyroidism increased basal levels of plasma ACTH and pituitary content of ACTH. The pituitary responsiveness to CRH for ACTH release markedly increased, whereas the adrenal responsiveness to ACTH for corticosterone release decreased. These results indicated that hypothyroidism causes adrenal dysfunction in adult male rats. Pituitary contents of LH and prolactin decreased in hypothyroid rats as compared with euthyroid rats. In addition, hypothyroidism lowered pituitary LH responsiveness to LHRH. Testicular responsiveness to human chorionic gonadotrophin for testosterone release, however, was not different between euthyroid and hypothyroid animals. These results indicated that hypothyroidism causes adrenal dysfunction and results in hypersecretion of ACTH from the pituitary gland. Adrenal dysfunction may contribute to the inhibition of LHRH secretion from the hypothalamus, possibly mediated by excess CRH.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 152, 147–154

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S Asai, R Ohta, M Shirota, A Tohei, G Watanabe, and K Taya

Hatano high-avoidance (HAA) and low-avoidance (LAA) animals were originally selected from Sprague-Dawley rats for good and poor active avoidance learning in a shuttle box. We studied the endocrinological profile in lactating rats to determine the effect of suckling during mid-lactation in HAA and LAA rats. The pups were separated from their mother rats 6 h before the onset of suckling and blood samples were drawn from unanaesthetized mother rats via a jugular cannula at 0, 5 and 15 min after the suckling stimulus and then 15, 45 and 105 min after pups were removed. Plasma concentrations of oxytocin in HAA rats were significantly higher than in LAA rats during the suckling period. Plasma concentrations of prolactin and ACTH in HAA rats were significantly higher than in LAA rats during the suckling period, and at 15 min and 45 min after the pups were removed. However, there were no strain differences in circulating corticosterone between the two lines, indicating that the response of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis to the suckling stimulus was greater in HAA rats than in LAA rats, whereas the ACTH-induced adrenal response of corticosterone release was higher in LAA rats than in HAA rats. Since dopamine from the median eminence inhibits prolactin secretion from the lactotrophs of the anterior pituitary, and tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic neurones are partially regulated by the level of circulating prolactin, we evaluated the activity of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine biosynthesis. TH, measured by the accumulation of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine, was significantly higher in HAA rats than in LAA rats before the suckling stimulus. After the suckling stimulus, TH activity in HAA rats was significantly lower than before suckling, whereas TH activity in LAA rats was not changed. These findings clearly demonstrated that apparent differences between the two Hatano lines exist in endocrinological profiles during suckling. These strain differences probably originate from neurotransmitter changes, such as dopamine.